Intake of Tomato-Rich Diet Can Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

First Posted: Aug 28, 2014 05:30 AM EDT

A team of researchers has found that men can ward off prostate cancer by consuming a tomato-rich diet.

Prostate cancer can be successfully treated. Over 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors. It is diagnosed in 80 percent of men, aged around 80 years. It is the second most common type of cancer in men worldwide. In the developed countries, the rate of prostate cancer is high and the researchers link this increased rate to westernized diet and lifestyle.

The latest study led by researchers at the University of Bristol found that, men who consume more than 10 portions of tomato every week are at an 18 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.

In this study, the researchers investigated if dietary and lifestyle recommendations lowered the risk of prostate cancer. They focused on the diet and lifestyle of 1,806 men aged between 50-69 years who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. These subjects were then compared to a group (12005 men) of controls who were cancer-free.

This is one of the early studies to frame a prostate cancer 'dietary index' that has dietary components like selenium, calcium and food rich in lycopene - that is linked to prostate cancer. The researchers noticed that those who consumed optimal amount of these three dietary components had a significantly lower risk of developing the cancer.

The most beneficial of all was tomato and its products like tomato juice, and baked beans. Ten portions of tomato a week lowered the risk by 18 percent. The researchers assumed that this is mainly due to the antioxidant lycopene that battles against toxins, which trigger damage to DNA and cell.

Vanessa Er, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU, led the research. She said: "Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention.  However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials.  Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active."

The study was published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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